We Have a Winner! Chicago Chosen to Host Star Wars Museum
After a battle of epic proportions between Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to host George Lucas's Star Wars museum. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has a budget of $400 million, and will tentatively open in 2018.
"I am humbled to be joining such an extraordinary museum community and to be creating the museum in a city that has a long tradition of embracing the arts," Lucas said in a statement.
Chicago representatives are similarly over the moon about the decision: "Chicago's a great city. We have a tradition that resonates closely with the way George Lucas has described his museum, as a museum of visual storytelling," said Gillian Darlow, CEO of Polk Bros. Foundation and a co-chair of Chicago's site selection task force. "He wants to help inspire other people, especially kids, to have bold visions the way he did."
Although Lucas is from California, and his visual effects studio is in San Francisco, the decision still does not come as a surprise. His wife, Mellody Hobson, is a prominent businesswoman in Chicago, and he has called the city his "home away from home." Chicago seems to reciprocate those fuzzy feelings, as they closed down Promontory Point for him to hold a celebration of his wedding in 2013. In addition, representatives from San Francisco hurt their chances when they rejected his proposed location near the Golden Gate Bridge.
"We are very disappointed to see Mr. Lucas go to Chicago," said Sam Singer, a spokesman from San Francisco. "The Presidio Trust turned down his concept for the main location, but we immediately offered him a second locale. "He never responded back to our generous offer."
We're glad to see Chicago win, if only because they had the most creative, not to mention relevant, pitch of the three cities: "I believe the force is with us," says Chicago official Kurt Summers. "We are the protagonist in sort of a good versus evil. We engaged fully, and that created real competition. The result of that [is] we saw San Francisco step up its game as well."